Moving a School Forward, Brian Siesto ’10 (M.S.)
There isn’t an industry, sector, or profession that hasn’t felt the jolting changes caused by the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. But, it could be argued that education, in particular, has felt that disruption more than other entities, as teachers, administrators, students, and families experience new models of education together. This fall, Collegium is highlighting Fisher alumni educators who are letting their creativity fly in this new educational landscape.
When Brian Siesto was enrolled in Fisher’s educational leadership master’s degree program, he was challenged with writing a “moral responsibility statement,” a half-page declaration of the type of learning environment he wants to create and the values most important to him as an educator. His statement, in summary, was grounded in providing the highest quality education for all students.
“There isn’t any student who walks through these doors that we can’t educate,” said Siesto, who is the principal at Victor Senior High School. “It’s my promise that we will help you regardless of any obstacles—be it social, emotional, physical, or cognitive. We are going to have you ready so that when you leave our school you will be confident in what you do next, be it college, trade school, the military, a gap year, employment.”
That sentiment has stayed with Siesto in his roles as assistant principal and principal. A copy remains on his desk.
“I read it when I feel like I am getting frazzled and it centers me,” he said. “You need something like that to be steady in your work. And Fisher instilled that in me.”
Siesto had worked at Victor since 2001, teaching social studies in the high school before an administrator encouraged him to consider an education leadership role.
“Leaving the classroom was not an easy decision, but I was drawn to the opportunity to help keep moving our school forward in a different way,” he said. “When you leave the classroom, you’re going to miss those super close relationships with kids. But as a leader, you can have a powerful, broad impact from a systems-thinking perspective.”
Siesto spent the summer working with his colleagues and teachers to prepare for a fall that would be entirely different from any other year.
“COVID-19 is stretching us to take an educational system that for 100 years has been intact and completely change it. We’ll probably never fully go back to the way things were,” he said. “But, that means we’re really expanding beyond the brick and mortar and focusing on what’s truly important in a school. Right now, we are all brand new teachers and educators, but we’ll make it work because it has to. These are our children, and we have to keep moving forward.”